Nashville Fire Department uses new tactic to combat opioid crisis
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) by Carley Gordon-
When someone overdoses on opioids, emergency responders do everything they can to save the patients and get them to a hospital.
Now they’re calling those same patients a few days after they’re released from the hospital hoping to get the help.
“I woke up in the hospital super scared,” said Alexis Hatler, who overdosed when she was 22 years old. “I was very sick because I had just been Narcanned and I was just terrified.”
Despite the brush with death, Hatler continued to use.
“An overdose is usually not enough to just make someone stop all together and just turn their live around,” said Hatler.
It’s why the Nashville Fire Department is now reaching out to overdose victims after the fact.
“We will contact them by phone and we will offer help to them to see if they would be willing to be put in contact with a counselor,” said Brooke Haas, Nashville Fire Department District Chief of EMS Special Operations.
“I do think we’ll save lives, and if we can put this effort forth and save even just one life and make one other family’s life better, then it’s absolutely worth it,” said Haas.
The patients are placed in programs like the ones at Cumberland Heights, where Hatler got treatment. She now works there and has been sober for six years.
“If you’re struggling and someone is reaching out to help you, in my opinion, that is something greater than myself,” said Hatler. “That’s putting out a hand for you to take and all you have to do is accept that help because there is help out there.”
The fire department only started making the follow-up calls in January. Already they have been able to place 13 people into programs and they’re helping people regardless of whether they have insurance.